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Six weeks and 300 miles on the road...a name, a road trip, and an example of Occam's Razor.


JonathanC
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In the few weeks since my 1941 Chrysler Royal went back on the road in late June, I've been trying to spend time enjoying it. Been to a few cruise nights, where there are always interesting things to see and people to talk cars with. We got all 3 of our grandchildren together for a ride one day in early July, and asked them if they wanted to think up a name for the car. Our grandson (7) thought about it for about four seconds, and said "I got a great name...Carl!". So I guess that's the car's name now.  Getting familiar with how it runs, I now know the "click" sound of the Vacamatic low-high upshift, which you can hear if there isn't too much ambient noise. Over the first couple hundred miles, I seem to have averaged just around or under 15 mpg (US).

 

At mid-month since I'd put over a hundred miles on the car near home without any issues (and turned over 34,000 miles), we decided to do a little road trip to a small town on a lake nearby to meet friends for lunch. Off we went, taking our "granddog" (we were dogsitting her at the time) with us. We ended up putting 130 miles on in one day, making a biggish loop around Eastern Ontario. Although it was hot (about 28°C and sunny), the temperature gauge stayed rock steady in the middle of the range and the car cruised along secondary highways at 50-55 mph quite well. Although we're accustomed to air conditioning these days, it was not uncomfortable thanks to the shade furnished by the small windows and the Fulton visor, and a good breeze coming in through the cowl vent. The dog slept quite peacefully in her basket on the seat between us all the way back, where I tried a short stretch on a divided highway near home and got to what I estimate was nearly a true 65 mph (70 on the clock but it was reading 3-4 mph fast at 55 when we checked against the GPS on my wife's phone).

 

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On the road, a good 60 miles from home

 

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Our ridealong, chilling on a patio during lunch

 

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Taking a nap on the drive home

 

Then we were away for a week, during which time I had our mechanic put on a new set of tie rod ends (something identified when the car was put back on the road in June, so I decided to just take care of it ASAP). When I went to pick "Carl" up, I found he had made a friend.

 

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Carl with his friend he met at the shop

 

Last Friday, I went to a very well-attended neighbourhood cruise night where I saw lots of interesting things and also learned a lesson. After the event, I decided to drive around a bit before going home. It was getting dark and I turned on the headlights. As I was driving on the suburban roads near home, I thought I was having trouble shifting the Vacamatic - it didn't seem to want to shift up when I lifted my foot off the gas around 25 mph and took a bit of finagling. When I pulled into the driveway at home, the idle sounded fast. I know that these things rely on the idle speed for the shift to occur properly, so I started wondering if the choke had an issue, or does the carb require adjustment or rebuilding. Reading service articles and checking the records I had for the car, I started pencilling in plans to investigate it properly. The carb had been rebuilt a few years ago by a previous owner. What could be wrong?

 

The next day I coincidentally decided to take a look under the dash to see if I could identify the source of a leak that drips some water on the floor when I wash the car (likely the cowl vent - jury still out on that). While I was on my back on the floor with a flashlight, I noticed the knob next to the headlight knob (both unlabelled) was slightly pulled out. That was the hand throttle control. It's likely I pulled it out a bit when I was looking for the headlight switch the night before and didn't push it all the way back in. Fast idle solved, and a little trip yesterday to take two of the grandkids for a donut (not eaten in the car!) and to the park showed that the shifting was as it should be again. So a very simple explanation, not some deep, dark issue with the choke or carburetor. These old cars are not anywhere near as idiot-proof as modern ones, although maybe the idiots these days are just that much better...

 

Meantime, after over 300 miles the car doesn't appear to have used any oil at all, which is gratifying. It was really easy to get used to driving it and I feel right at home behind the wheel now. I hope to get another run in it this week before our family vacation.

 

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Edited by JonathanC
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If you are so inclined and get adventurous,  consider joining the P15 Picnic Tour in Sept.  We have a couple cars from Ontario registered.  There is a thread on this forum detailing this year's tour in and around Manchester New Hampshire.  Picnic participants from London, Ontario area have indicated interest in hosting next year's tour.  If you have any interest in taking a long ride in your beautiful Chrysler, we would love to have you.

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20 hours ago, greg g said:

If you are so inclined and get adventurous,  consider joining the P15 Picnic Tour in Sept.  We have a couple cars from Ontario registered.  There is a thread on this forum detailing this year's tour in and around Manchester New Hampshire.  Picnic participants from London, Ontario area have indicated interest in hosting next year's tour.  If you have any interest in taking a long ride in your beautiful Chrysler, we would love to have you.

 

That sounds like fun, and my plan is to go far in the car...someday. September might be a bit soon, though. I want to accumulate some critical spare parts to bring along before I go farther than towing distance from homebase, just in case.

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